Novartis Names New CEO

Novartis Names New CEO”

The Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis is set to get a new chief executive in the form of Vasant Narasimhan, after Joseph Jimenez announced his upcoming retirement. The company's board has appointed Vasant Narasimhan, its Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, to the position of CEO, effective February 1, 2018. Dr. Narasimhan is a member of the Executive Committee and joined Novartis in 2005.

"I would like to express my honest appreciation for Joe's achievements as CEO", said Joerg Reinhardt, Chairman of the Novartis Board of Directors.

"During his tenure, Joe focused Novartis on leading global businesses, while divesting non-core divisions", Novartis chairman Joerg Reinhardt said in a statement, referring to Jimenez's decision to offload the company's animal health business to and its vaccines and over-the-counter drugs businesses (the latter through the formation of a joint venture) to GlaxoSmithKline. Before joining the company in 2005, he worked at McKinsey.

A doctor from Harvard Medical School, 41-year-old Narasimhan is a second generation immigrant to the United States.

The US citizen was educated at Harvard University and is an elected member of the US Academy of Medicine.

Mr. Jimenez said Novartis was on a "strong path to the future" and that it was the "right moment" to hand over the reins to Dr. Narasimhan.

Jimenez had in July expressed confidence that the pharmaceutical major would return to sales growth.

Novartis is in the midst of a strategic review on the future of its struggling eyecare unit, Alcon. As a physician, he has a strong patient focus and a genuine humane perspective and care for the mission and values of Novartis.

"Under [Jimenez's] leadership the innovation pipeline was rejuvenated, and we successfully navigated the patent expirations of our two largest products", Reinhardt said.

"I've been CEO for eight years and I've been pretty public about the fact that I didn't think a CEO should stay much longer than that", Jimenez said on a call.

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